Intelligent traffic control pilot reduces air pollution in Munich

Around 40% of drivers opted for a more eco-friendly route around the city

Festival Net Zero 2021

A pilot project which encouraged individual vehicle drivers to take alternative routes around congested areas in Munich has helped reduce air pollution.

Siemens, ryd and Hawa Dawa used real-time sensors to measure air pollution and analyse the data, with the aim of showing how intelligent traffic control could help the city better achieve sustainability goals.

Hawa Dawa provided pollution forecasts to Siemens Mobility’s ITS Digital Lab in Munich, where data scientists and traffic management experts analysed the data from smart car platform ryd to predict individual routes and suggest eco-friendly alternatives.

Initial results from the four-week pilot for more than 1,600 drivers showed savings of 83kg of CO2 and 114g of NOx as well as a reduction in 633km driven.

It found 35% to 40% of drivers are willing to contribute to reducing air pollution by re-routing when they are provided “green” routes.

During the pilot, the most eco-friendly drivers received ryd points which could be later transferred into items such as Amazon vouchers.

According to the German Federal Environment Ministry, Munich has the second highest NO2 levels in Germany and the average driver is said to spend around 51 hours a year sitting in traffic jams.

Statistics from the European Commission estimate healthcare costs due to air pollution to be between €330 billion (£283bn) to €940 billion (£807bn) per year, with traffic as the largest contributor.

Hawa Dawa CEO Karim Tarraf said: “We believe eco-routing at the individual level has extremely high potential as a policy option in tackling unacceptable levels of traffic-related air pollution in cities.

“This pilot was able to demonstrate the impact on individual behaviours of such a measure, in a short period of time. This hints at the huge untapped potential in trialling and adapting eco-sensitive routing alongside other smart mobility options within other large conurbations.”

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